Game Thread

Game 53: Can they make it three in a row?

rangers devils
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The Rangers made a dramatic comeback over the weekend, eventually beating the Flyers in the shootout. Today they go for three in a row against the Devils, a team that they dominated at even strength a week ago, but lost in regulation because of special teams. The penalty kill has been better of late, but the powerplay is still a train wreck.

Compounding these issues is that the Rangers will be without Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash, arguably their two best players. Nash hasn’t played since before the All Star break, and McDonagh was sucker-punched by Wayne Simmonds on Saturday. Neither has a timetable for return. Nash has already been missed, and McDonagh’s injury puts the already weak blue line in a precarious position.

A win tonight goes a long way, widening the gap between the Rangers and fifth place in the division, a spot the Rangers want to avoid.

Devils Systems

John Hynes has his club running a 1-2-2 forecheck, a low zone collapse, an umbrealla powerplay and a hybrid penalty kill. These are standard systems across the board, and are not very aggressive in nature. The Devils will look to sit and force turnovers in the neutral zone on the forecheck, then collapse to block shots and defend the high priced real estate in the defensive zone. Considering the team, conservative is probably his best bet.

For more on these systems, check out our Hockey Systems page.

Devils Lines

Joseph Blandisi-Adam Henrique-Lee Stempniak
Sergey Kalinin-Travis Zajac-Kyle Palmieri
Reid Boucher-Jacob Josefson-Tyler Kennedy
Bobby Farnham-Stephen Gionta-Jordin Tootoo

Andy Greene-Adam Larsson
Eric Gelinas-David Schlemko
Scott Helgeson-Damon Severson

PP1: Boucher, Henrique, ??, Stempniak, Gelinas
PP2: Josefson, Zajac, Palmieri, Blandisi, Schlemko

PK: Zajac, Stempniak, Henrique, Josefson, Gionta, Larsson, Greene, Gelinas, Schlemko

Corey Schneider gets the start.

Rangers Lines

Chris KreiderDerek StepanMats Zuccarello
JT MillerDerick BrassardJesper Fast
Oscar LindbergKevin HayesViktor Stalberg
Daniel PailleDominic MooreTanner Glass

Keith YandleDan Girardi
Marc StaalKevin Klein
Dan Boyle-Dylan McIlrath

PP1: Yandle-Brassard-Miller-Hayes-Lindberg
PP2: ?-Boyle-Kreider-Stepan-Zuccarello

PK: Stepan, Moore, Lindberg, Fast, Boyle, Staal, Yandle, Girardi

Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.

Scratches/Injuries: Ryan McDonagh (consussion), Rick Nash (leg)

Crazy Prediction: A third win in a row.

Be sure to check out our ticket link if you’re looking for tickets to the game. Game time is 7pm on MSG. All gifs will be on

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  1. So we are essentially rolling 3 lines and a nonsense line that will kill penalties. Let’s hope AV rolls only the top 3 for long stretches of time.

    Would love to see 3 in a row, but unsure where our offense will come from. Stepan is invisible, Fast doesn’t put fear into the opposition so we better get something significant from the 3rd line, or we will not bring home a W.

  2. We are entering a critical period now. No McDonagh. No Nash. No idea how long either will be out. McDonagh could be back in a week, or never. Nash could be back in a week, or like Mark Teixiera, this “bone bruise” may not heel as fast as we want and it turns out to be something more.

    Bottom line, we have no chance if those two aren’t back. None.

    AV and this team are facing the biggest challenge of their Ranger careers. Let’s see how they respond.

    1. Why, it’s not like these guys are All-Stars, only Hank is a Hall Of Famer, right?

      1. Right! Agree! (What in the world you are talking about however, that’s a whole nother issue!).

        You don’t think the team will be compromised without our best defensemen and best forward? Okie dokie then.

  3. Good start, all over these stiffs but no goals yet, Boyle shoots wide, Stepan misses breakaway. I hope nobody puts Sominex in the water bottles between periods.

  4. This game has that scary feel to it…like a 1-0 loss type of game…. ughhhh….Schneider is a beast against us this season

    1. not tonight, Klein scores, at least we won’t have a goose egg on the scoreboard again us!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Good to hear that Yandle’s agent is talking to the Rangers. Maybe he can be signed, never know.

    1. after that stupid spinarama play, costing us a shorthanded score, I don’t know about this guy?????????///

  6. That was an ugly win…take it though…..special teams is atrocious….McIlrath needs to play….simple as that…..Boyle should do the team a favor and just walk away. He has lost everything….can’t hit the side of a barn with his shot.

    1. I actually thought Boyle played a good game.

      I thought DMC played a solid game aside from the lil hiccup giveaway late in the third. Kudos to the Coach for sticking with the “PROCESS,” and helping him seam into being a pro.

      Special teams might have been atrocious but they worked the puck real well on the PP had many good looks and had 3 golden opportunitues, but this is what happens against one of the best goalies in the league. Yeah the shorty sucked though.

      3 in a row, les go!

    2. Ugly win? I’d say impressive, mostly dominant effort. As usual, we can’t finish on scoring chances, but beyond that, we were the far better team tonight.

  7. Oh….Also… Kudos to the Coach again for standing up for his players and the organization for having the BALLS to voicing his displeasure with the circus show that happened by the league in Philadelphia!!! If you didn’t hear the whole thing, you must!

  8. I was shocked to see Kevin Klein score tonight. Shocked! I mean after all, the orthopedic experts out here have gone on the record saying Klein should not be playing, just like they say Girardi shouldn’t be playing. What happened doctors?

    Just when I was going to start a new website with pretend doctors diagnosing athletes ailments without actually examining them…we could have made a fortune! 🙂

  9. Seriously, real good gutsy win. How hot is Miller? Wow! Still, to win consistently with McDonagh and Nash out indefinitely, we need to finish on more scoring chances, which is all too often a problem. That’s still the biggest trade deadline need.

    Dave Maloney made a great point on the post game…Miller is red hot, but as he gets better, he will generate more attention. How will he handle increased attention? Can others like Kreider, Hayes and Stepan step up as well? Miller is going to cool off. When that happens, who will provide the offense?

    Heave ho, three in a row! 9-4-1 in the last 14. Hank is rounding into form and the defense is getting better and better, but these next two vs Pit and LA will be real litmus tests.

  10. I posted this last night, funny people will quote others when they want to advance their view, but have a short memory when it’s inconvvient for them?????

    Funny, I just heard Dan Maloney say that Mc Ilrath should play every game against Filthadelphia, Islanders, and the Caps. He made mention that the Flyers took too many liberties against us, and that the kid should be in there from now on. Sorry my friend, but I trust Dan’s opinion more so than the advocates of the Mr Softy’s game!!!!!!!!!!!

    As for the game, it’s two points, and with the Pens getting hot as all get out, I’ll take them and run…………….

    Bobby B, this should put a smile on your face, it did to me….

    1. Ya Dave Maloney knows something abt playing D alright, like DMAC he wasn’t fancy but he got the job done, just like Jeff Beukeboom. But some discounted what Beuke sais abt DMAC because only what AV says counts in the scheme of things 🙂

    2. Brother Walt, I have an ear to ear grin on!!!. The Kid has earned the right to play, I am holding my breath that they do not trade him for some 35 yr old has been who makes 8 million dollars a year. You never know with this organization, they have a history of cutting loose big , mean, steady defense man.

    3. I agree he should play more. I said before the Flyers game I would have started him over Boyle (even though, as it turns out, starting Boyle proved to be the right move). I’m perfectly fine with DMC playing more, especially in place of Boyle. I’m just not going to kill AV when he doesn’t play him, especially with the team going 9-4-1 in the last 14, largely without McIlrath playing.

      Boyle was critically important last night as a RH defensemen playing on the left side. That’s what experience brings to the table that a young player can’t deliver. Girardi has been playing better and better. Klein needs to play. So when the team is healthy, all I’ve said it’s not a slam dunk who should or shouldn’t sit.

      Anyway, it’s a moot point. McDonagh is out indefinitely. For all the Boyle bashers, you better hope and pray he can handle playing on the left side, because it doesn’t appear there are any better options in Hartford that are ready yet, especially with a tight cap situation.

      Also, for those who still believe that McIlrath’s presence changes the outcome of what happened to McDonagh, did you see Brooks’ column today?

      “And no, a partner riding shotgun would not necessarily have protected McDonagh from this punishment. Having Jeff Beukeboom as Brian Leetch’s partner did not prevent Trent Klatt from smashing No. 2 into the boards in Game 2 of the 1997 Conference Finals in Philadelphia; that was the hit on which Leetch suffered the debilitating sprained right wrist that pretty much ended whatever chance the Blueshirts might have had to pull off the upset.”

      Now remember, Brooks is no fan of Boyle, has been a big fan of the kid, and in general is very old school in his assessment of the Rangers not being “physical enough”. So for him to say that is very telling, and I think very accurate.

      I’d go a step further. In the ’94 playoffs, the Devils pounded Leetch. Turned out he severely injured his shoulder. The Devils, and then the Canucks, kept pounding him. And the presence of Beukeboom, and Kocur, and Kypreos, didn’t change a thing with the opponents strategy. Just like the Bruins didn’t change their strategy when Belesky tossed Stepan into the boards like he was a rag doll…..that was WITH McIlrath on the ice at that moment.

      Then there was this astute observation from Rick Carpiniello….

      “Whenever there’s a situation like that (the sucker punch), the linesmen always rush to protect the perp to avoid a melee. Then Simmonds was out of the game. So aside from targeting, say Claude Giroux, and letting Philly’s power play chew up and spit out the Rangers PK, there weren’t a lot of options.”

      No team or player is going to lie awake at night scared of playing Dylan McIlarath or anyone else in this league. That sucker punch happens regardless.

      1. Eddie you keep focusing on goonery, which is not the issue at all. You could have 18 goons on the ice and that wouldn’t stop anyone from throwing a sucker punch either. The issue is abt team toughness, abt playing physically, abt standing up for each other, that is what team is. You say hits are not important but the Rangers had 35+ last night, playing one of their most dominant games of the season. I was SHOCKED that Kreider had 5 himself. Hits=Intensity, Intensity=Competitiveness. Hits don’t guarantee anything because you need, skill & speed too. But to say physical play, esp on the D, is not important is folly. When your D can win board battles(like DMAC can do) you have better odds of getting the puck out of your zone. And if you can knock the forward on his ass, all the better.

        1. Paul, it’s hilarious when you accuse me of misquoting you, when you continually distort much of what I say.

          When did I mention or even imply “goonery” here? And when did I ever say I was against team toughness or hitting? Or that physicality on defense isn’t important? The Rangers as of today, are 8th in hits. So by that measurement, we are among the more physical teams.

          I posted a chart the other day that while hits are important, it does not suggest you are a better team if you are more physical. The Caps are less physical this year and winning more. The Isles are the most physical team in the league and are a borderline playoff team. The Kings have won Cups by being very physical. The Hawks have won Cups by being among the least physical teams. The Lightning had and are having success by being among the least physical.

          The Rangers under Torts were among the most physical teams in the league but were a borderline playoff team except one season. They have been less physical under AV, and yet have been more successful than they were under Torts. This year’s Rangers team is the most physical it’s been under AV, yet they’ve struggled record wise compared to the last two seasons.

          Physicality does not always translate into success. Just ask the Hawks. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, ask the Winnipeg Jets.

          Obviously, my only point the other day was that yes, of course physically is important. But is it any more or less important than PP, PK, winning faceoffs, finishing on scoring chances, etc.? I think Rangers fans, ever since Schultz pounded on Rolfe, are conditioned to be so fixated on the physicality element that there is a tendency to blow it’s relative value out of proportion, especially in the highly skilled game that the modern day NHL has become.

          The point of today’s post, if you’d care to re-read it, was to say that those still furious about McIlrath not playing vs Philly, or that we didn’t retaliate, are missing the point. McDonagh is likley still concussed regardless. That was my only point today Paul.

          I’d have to give you “low marks” in my journalism class. :).

  11. great win for the boys now comes the Wednesday night rivalry game on NBCSN against the pens it should be a spirited game as Crosby and co welcome the boys expect it to be well-played

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